Salt Flats & Highland Lakes
Aug 29, 2007
|The Atacama Salt Flats & Highland Lakes
After many days of continual touring & sightseeing we were thinking twice about doing ANOTHER tour. But then you can't go to the Atacama desert & not see the Salt Flats.
Besides, we have ditched the Sand Boarding & are going for the rest day tomorrow.
I guess given the choice of being back home working or being here doing another tour...oh it's a hard life eh???
Ah, thought I'd tell you a little about San Pedro first. We're beginning to think the place is a little like Hotel California. Lots of buses arrive everyday but you never see or hear of anyone leaving. In fact, it's really difficult to get out of the place. Our hotel is ok, but every now & then the owner (a rather oversized lady to underestimate) grunts at us. Prices in this tourist trap are extortionate... it's a wonder that your average traveller chooses to come here. I've touched earlier on our room being cold, but we blagged a 1kw heater from the owner (which took some doing to defrost HER first!!!)
We huddle around this for some vague warmth...
So to the Salt Flats. We are up early & thermal layer up again. Soon after setting off though, our guide manages to remove the bus door handle & we wait for a replacement bus. Using the time wisely we have breakfast.
The bus takes us up to the Chaxa lagoon where we are presented with some fabulous views (apparently the view here has been used for the cover of National Geographic).
Then we travel back to the Salt Flats (Salar de Atacama) which is simply a vast area of mineral salts. These salts were formed by a continual evaporation process where water was being fed from the mountains, picking up minerals along the way, depositing them into the flat to crystalise.
It's not the perfectly shaped formations we had expected (like those in Bolivia) but instead a rugged mass of pinnacles & crusty mounds...
We see lots of flamingos & gradually get cooked by the sun.
That evening we had dinner with a couple we met, Seiko & Pete. During this lovely dinner, both Derek & Marcel notice a flickering in the ceiling... Ah don't worry, it's just the roof on fire.... Thankfully, the waiter came quickly (when summoned), unlike most other times, & grabbed a fire extinguisher. Phew... thought the steaks weren't going to be the only things cooked that night...
Tomorrow, rest day, the day after we transfer from San Pedro to Salta in Northern Argentina.